SP Kennel is a premier sled dog racing kennel in Two Rivers, Alaska, dedicated to the individual dog through excellent health, nutrition, training and specialized care.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wes and Wendy's Weather Nine

What do you do while you wait for your mushers to finish their 24 hour required rest on a big race like the Iditarod? You take your 24 hours! SP Kennel is now taking their 24 hours—we are giving the “refresh” button a break, and are doing the chores around the kennel. We’ll be ready to watch the GPS tracker when Aliy leaves this evening.

Monday was a gorgeous sunny day with temperatures hovering right around 10 degrees above zero, a great day for a training run. Since Wes is preparing for his first race this weekend here in Two Rivers, we hooked up two teams of eight and went off for a nice two hour stretch out. It was a great run, and dogs and humans were happy.

Then…it snowed…and snowed….and hasn’t stopped. Monday night we were to get 4 inches which is a nice snow for the trails and makes things pretty. However, Tuesday morning it was still snowing and we’d reached six inches of fluffy white stuff. As it was the last day to train, Wes and I decided to head out for a long run. I went ahead on the snow machine (mobile) to clear the trail for him, and pack down the fluff. He followed behind with 12 dogs who will most likely make up his team. I’m NOT a professional trailbreaker by any means. Though I do know my way around a snow machine, it has been a few winters since I spent any extended time on one. Things went quite smoothly, until I decided I needed to turn around in a “wide spot” in the trail. With drifts of powder snow all around, I quickly realized how easy it is to get a snow machine stuck! Luckily as I left home, Allen had yelled, “Don’t forget to take a shovel”. So I untied it from the luggage rack, and went to work. After 15 minutes of intense work and a graceful 25 point turn, I got unstuck, and continued to my destination. The remainder of the trip was fairly uneventful, though I did have to dig myself out of snow drifts a few more times along the way. Snow plows are NOT a snow machiner’s friend!

Wes, however, had an interesting trip with his twelve dogs. On the return trip, snow machines had come along my carefully groomed trail, and turned it into mush—which funny enough—isn’t great for mushing. Wes hit sloppy trail on his way home, with fresh snow, overflow, and tree drop snow making the trail more difficult than usual. His 6 hour trip took a few more than expected. As we waited for Wes to come home, we watched Aliy finish her run into Nikolai and then Takotna for her rest. I was pretty proud to be a part of the SP Kennel team, as she received her “Spirit of Alaska” award. Wes finally made it home—surprising us by coming into the yard backwards! Luckily, not sled first! Apparently, with all the fresh snow, our in trail to the kennel yard had blown over and the dogs could not find a way through the drifts to get to their houses. Taking the path of least resistance, they followed my snow machine tracks up the driveway and into the yard through the “out” trail. Allen has dubbed Wes, “Wrong Way Wes” after this particular sledding adventure.

This morning (Wednesday) we awoke to more snow falling. We’ve now reached about 15 inches of wet, heavy, powder snow. This is more snow than Two Rivers has gotten all year! The dog houses are covered to their roofs. The Iditarod dogs are going to have to tunnel their way into their houses! The remaining dogs have been able to keep up with the snowfall, and packed down their circles. Even the Outlaws have kept their circles clean. Yes, the Outlaws graduated this week to “Big Sled Dog” status. They received their bright red collars and were tied out on chains in the dog yard. They are borrowing some houses right now, until we can shovel out a place for them to live. They seem to be adjusting well, and enjoy playing with their neighbors. Pud and Bullet are taking it in stride, and showing them how to be good, calm puppies.

It’s almost time to watch the GPS Tracker again—Aliy will be finishing up her 24 soon and heading out. We’re pulling for you, Aliy! Way to go, Ryne!


Starla Brewer said...

I loved reading this. It helped feed my GPS withdrawls. It is so easy for us fans to forget that during races life must go on as normal back home at the kennel.

Bogey said...

It never occurred to me that you 3 would be 'back at the ranch'. I thought you'd be leapfrogging Aliy and Ryne. Goes to show how much I still have to learn. Wes, good luck on your race. I'm sure you'll to SPK proud!

Linda F said...

I just can't believe mush isn't good for mushing! Love your post - very informative and entertaining!

Linda Toth said...

March 10, Saturday, 2:00 PM at the Chatanika Lodge, right Wes?

Great, great post and yes, I just finished shoveling this abundance of snow off my deck - only to watch the surface to become covered with more of the fluffy, white stuff.

Deb said...

Hey Wes, have a great first race. Do you know who you are taking yet?
What a pleasure to follow all the kennel dogs and mushers. Headed for Nome on Saturday for our 4th year as volunteers so we will be there to welcome Aliy and Ryne, along with all the other fans (and Bridget, Scotty, their little one, and Allen). Wes and Wendy...are you coming up?

Mike Frerichs said...

Great photos and post.

Unknown said...

So I had just switched from the Two Rivers 200 to the 100 race. That is partially because there is so much snow that the race would be so slow that I would miss Aliy crossing the finish line in Nome, and partially because most of the lead dogs still at the kennel think I am a moron.

However I have just received an email saying the race is postponed by 1 week. Now I can't race because I will be in Nome. Very dissapointing.

For those of you wondering, this was to be my line up.

Pud, Malibu
L'il Debbie, Happy
Mac, Cutter
Boris, Roy
Sophie, Looker
Chemo, Fang


Anonymous said...

So sorry you don't get to race. We were wondering who you were taking and looking forward to race updates. Isn't it great to have 32 dogs out on the ID trail (go Aliy, go Ryne) and still have some ID veterans left for you to race with to show those youngsters how it is done (I am sure Happy is still proud of her status as an ID dog)!